In Search of Some Perspective…Anyone?

Wow.  Wow.  Wow!!!

What can you say about the US Open that hasn’t already been said, ad infinitum, ad nauseum,  by the mainstream golf media…and then been blown completely out of proportionto increasingly absurd levels by them, just five minutes later…and then again every 5 minutes after that?

By Saturday night, the guys on the golf Channel and NBC had not only crowned Rory the US Open Champion 24-hours early…but they had magically fast-forwarded us in time to hand him 18 other Major titles as well, to supplant Jack Nicklaus as the greatest golfer to ever swing a club.

It was like watching secret video footage from the annual convention for the Premature Ejaculators of America…as every participant frenetically, furiously wound themselves into a frenzy, desperately trying to outdo the other four or five guys around the table and be the first to explode in their own pants.

Not that I would know anything about premature ejaculation, of course.  A friend explained it to me once.  Let’s call him “Mel,” just for entertainment purposes.

It got so carried away, that at some point, even a few of the professional golfers (who have always struck me as a pretty well-grounded bunch of realists) got caught up in the frenzy.  Leading the way was Padraig Harrington, who if I recall correctly, actually predicted that Rory would win more Majors than Jack…by this Christmas!

I suspect Guinness was involved.

Hey, don’t get me wrong.  It was fantastic and tremendously refreshing to see and hear the golf media excited about someone else, for what seems like the first time in forever…but can’t they take their time and ramp it up a little bit?

Maybe find some middle ground to start off with and build gradually after each achievement…rather than creating a brand new, full-fledged deity in just 2 or 3 days?  It’s kind of like going on a blind date, getting married, having 2.5 children, retiring and dying all in one weekend.

And, if you’re thinking at this point of the column that I wasn’t excited to watch Rory win, you’re dead wrong.

Other than the semi-annual thumping of the Yanks at the Ryder Cup and watching Mike Weir win his green jacket, I can’t recall a golf tournament that I’ve enjoyed more…or one in which I cheered louder or have been more genuinely excited for the winner.

It was great fun and an absolutely fantastic achievement…and when Rory walked off the 18th green, hugged his dad and said “Happy Father’s Day,” I actually had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat the size of PEI (the closest thing we have to a phlegm-shaped province).

I’m guessing many of your reading this column (all three of you) probably experienced the same emotions.   And, when you get right down to it, that pretty much goes for every player who was on the course too.  Sure, they all wanted to win it themselves…but, if they couldn’t do it, they were thrilled that it was Rory.

The only thing that comes to mind that is more universal in appeal and pure entertainment value is Monty Python’s “Fish Slapping Dance.”  (I defy anyone on the planet not to laugh at it).

In fact, I’d venture to say that the only person on the planet not cheering for Rory to win the US Open was on his private yacht somewhere, counting how many times his name was mentioned, mixing buckets of cocktails with his prop cane and banging the waffle waitress du jour.

On Your Marks…Get Set…Stumble!!!

Yes, you could tell it was going to be a magical day of entertainment right from the opening salvo.

What is it about Americans and their genetic predisposition to look for any excuse, no matter how feeble, to cram huge gobs of mawkish patriotism down everyone’s throats?

Starting off a golf broadcast with their pledge of allegiance.  Really?

Yes, I understand it’s the US Open and everything, but reading the pledge of allegiance during the opening of the telecast is about as relevant to me as reciting the Cat in the Hat before one of those barbaric steel cage, ultimate fighting matches.  It just doesn’t compute…at least not in my head.

The fact that NBC intentionally left those two words, “of god,” out of the pledge didn’t offend me at all.  That they actually had the nerve to think it was proper to use the pledge to open the broadcast in the first place did. The omitted words merely turned something that was entirely nauseous and inappropriate into something that was vastly entertaining.

(And here’s a non-golf forecast for you; the backlash on this “accident” that we’ll have to endure for the next 6-12 months, will eclipse all the ridiculous nonsense we had to suffer when Janet Jackson had her “wardrobe malfunction.”  After all, what network could possibly pass up the chance to bury a competitor who was so blatantly stupid?)

And if you really believe that either of those “accidents” was in fact accidental, I have some real estate I’d really be interested in selling you!

Despite all of the spin doctoring you’re bound to hear about this…no, the pledge of allegiance gaff wasn’t caused by some low-level editor grunt or mid-level broadcast manager.  People at that level simply wouldn’t have had the nerve (or stupidity) to do that.  Nope…disregard all of the ass-covering and finger-pointing you’ll see over the weeks ahead.  Authorization for that one came right from the top folks.  Bank on it.

By the way, I guess the fact that an Irishman was the defending Champion…and that another Irishman was an absolute shoo-in to win The US Open, must have somehow escaped the attention of the editors directing that opening piece of fluff.

“We pledge allegiance…er, I mean, toora loora loora…faith and begorrah…wax my shillelagh.”

And how about grinding the on-course reporting to a complete standstill, so that Jimmy can give us a 15-minute retrospective on all the US Presidents who have played golf in the past 100 years…and then go on to waste even more time telling us who won a $2 Nassau in a match between President Obama and 3 tossers from Capitol Hill?  Gawd, that was painful.

Happily, that’s something you would NEVER see in the coverage of the Canadian Open.  The big brains at the CBC, CTV, Global and TSN all know that if they tried to show us anything about past golfing Prime Ministers the entire country would go into a coma in about 3 nanoseconds.

And as far as the other nonsense goes, if the Canadian media stopped covering the action at the Canadian Open to report that Stephen Harper and Jack Layton were involved in a $2 Nassau, the head of the Liberal Party (whoever the hell that is this week) would immediately call for a 3-year Royal Commission to discover whether the winner added 13% HST to the bet.

The US Open – Results

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Steve Stricker T19 $       105,905 Matthew Edwards Cut
Luke Donald T45 $         31,264 Kevin Na Cut
Matt Kuchar T14 $       129,517 J.J. Henry T54 $             21,792
Jim Furyk Cut Jeff Overton T63 $             18,620
This Week’s Total $       266,686 This Week’s Total $             40,412
Season Total $  11,641,781 Season Total $        3,651,061

Crap!  Instead of pulling off a brilliant “NostraDerek” performance, I almost ran the table on BAD predictions this week.  No one was moaning about the course being unfair.  It wasn’t a close race.  And most, if not all of my players, managed to reach new, season-long personal records for suckitude.

Donald at 45th?  Didn’t see that one coming!  Mind you, both Stricker and Kuchar were “in the hunt” (for second place) for a good chunk of the weekend…they just had a few back nine Sunday woes that dropped them into the teens.

The Traveler’s Championship – Derek’s Picks

Bubba Watson – Don’t let the fact that Rory smoked him by 25 strokes (!!) last week fool you into doubting this pick.  There’s one thing we all should have learned from the 2011 PGA season so far; if an insurance company is sponsoring an event on the Tour, then bank on Bubba Watson to lift the trophy.

I know, it’s not scientific.  It might not even been complete rational.  But you don’t ignore this kind of serendipity lightly.

Bubba has added a total of two shiny new pieces of hardware to his trophy case so far this season; from The Farmer’s Insurance Open and The Zurich (Insurance) Classic.  This week’s event is the next Insurance Open on the list.

Oh yes, it’s probably worth mentioning that Bubba is the defending champ here too.  Maybe he has plans on being an actuary when he finishes playing golf for a living?

Hunter Mahan – Rounds of 74-73 at Congressional assured Hunter of coming into this week’s event really well rested.  He missed the US Open cut by a single, annoying stroke.

Here’s hoping that he took advantage of that time off and went straight to the TPC at River Highlands to get battle-ready, instead of heading home for some slap and tickle with the new bride!

This course has been very good to Mahan over the years…and, despite his recent failure in Washington, there’s no reason to assume that he shouldn’t do well in this week’s tournament.

He finished T4 here in 2009, T2 in 2008, T2 in 2006 (when it was the Buick Championship) and won the whole enchilada in 2007.  In fact, the only time he hasn’t finished in the top 4 in this event in the past 5 years was in 2010…when he didn’t show up.

All that puts a BIG check mark beside Mahan’s name this week.  Take him to do no worse than top 5.

Brandt Snedeker – There aren’t very many guys who did exceptionally well at the 2011 US Open who are playing in Connecticut this week.  Snedeker is the 2nd highest finisher from Congressional in the field.

Snedeker should take away a lot of positive mental energy from his experiences in Washington last weekend.   Even though he was beaten by McIlroy by 13 strokes, he put together 4 very solid rounds (70-70-72-69) that left him tied for eleventh place at the toughest major.

He’s also having an excellent year so far, having already won The Heritage and finishing top 5 at the Transitions and The Texas Open (plus top 10’s at the Farmer’s and in Phoenix).

I don’t have any glorious stats from past attempts at this tourney…because he really doesn’t have any.  But, despite that, I think he’ll be riding enough positive US Open mojo this week to give him a great shot at win #2 for the season.

Kevin Chappell – Where did this guy come from last weekend?  Of all the names being bantered about by the media wags to finish top 5 at Congressional, Chappell’s was not-so-conspicuously absent from the list.  No great surprise there.

What was a great surprise was that Chappell finished off the tournament in third place…tying Lee Westwood, Y.E. Yang and Robert Garrigus, packing that crazy and deadly accurate kiddie putter of his (I loved it!).

Other than the US Open, Chappell hasn’t really done much of anything this year…other than one great week in Texas, where he finished in 2nd place.  His next-best finishes were T37, T42, T48 and a crap-load of missed cuts.

However, I think the performance he just turned in at Congressional is just the kind of thing a guy can feed on and use to really launch his career up to the next level (or maybe a few levels).   For that reason, and because he was just so damned impressive last weekend (and worth cheering for), he’s on my roster this week.

And now that this version of War and Peace is finally at an end, here’s how my daughter lobbed the darts at the field sheet this week:

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard)

  • · James Driscoll
  • · Troy Merritt
  • · Kenny Perry
  • · Marc Turnesa

And that’s all for now folks.  Have a great week and enjoy the tourney!



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  • Derek, as much as I enjoy golf on TV, this US OPEN ‘s Golf Channel/NBC coverage was really bad. In fact, both have been getting worse each week since last fall. sad, because they have some good people, it must be management!

    Go Rory. Where did Rory go?

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